Apple has filed a scathing response to Australian banks requesting the ability to negotiate to have their own mobile payment apps featured on the iPhone, claiming the country’s “big three” banks are looking to stall Apple Pay’s adoption among consumers to stifle competition. The banks asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for the right to collectively bargain with Apple, and while the ACCC refused their request for interim approval to start the negotiations, the Commission won’t release its final ruling until October.
After a three-year investigation, the European Commission has concluded that Ireland should recover 13 billion euros (about $14.5 billion) in back taxes from Apple, saying the company’s deal in that country was illegal, the BBC reports. The commission said Apple paid substantially less than other companies, ending up with a corporate tax rate of no more than 1 percent while other companies pay around 12.5 percent. “Member states cannot give tax benefits to selected companies — this is illegal under EU state aid rules,” Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said.
On the heels of previous leaked images of SIM trays that purported to show there was a black iPhone in the works, Macotakara has unearthed more images which may hint at a glossy black iPhone color to be revealed next week. The image shows five SIM trays held side by side and includes a black option among the existing space gray, rose gold, gold and silver. The site also posted a mock up of what a black version of the iPhone 7 might look like, which also serves as a warning that painting or Photoshopping a SIM tray to be black in the other photo is a clear possibility.
Russian trademark filings uncovered by mobiltelefon.ru show identifiers for 10 different individual versions of Apple Watch and wireless headphones referred to as “AirPods” designed for use with the iPhone 7. A leaked video of EarPods featuring a Lightning connector has led to speculation that Apple may package those with the iPhone 7, since they’re rumored to have done away with the 3.5mm headphone jack. These latest filings hint that Apple may be offering its first version of wireless earbuds for users who want to ditch the cord all together. The AirPods name implies that the accessory will be a first-party accessory, not branded through the company’s Beats label. But whether they’ll be in the box with the iPhone or sold separately is an open question.
The European Commission will rule against Ireland’s tax deals with Apple on Tuesday, Reuters reports. The commission will reportedly make the recommendation for Ireland to recoup more than 1 billion Euros (about $1.19 billion) in back taxes from Apple. Both Apple and Ireland have previously said they would appeal any such ruling, and neither Apple nor the European Commission has commented as of yet. Despite the commission’s recommendation, Irish authorities will be able to determine exactly what must be owed — further details will likely emerge upon the expected official announcement from the European Commission on Tuesday.
A nationwide class action lawsuit has been filed against Apple by some iPhone 6/6 Plus owners, Reuters reports. The suit has been prompted by the issue which iFixit recently dubbed “Touch Disease” — flickering gray lines appear at the top of an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, causing the screen to become glitchy or unresponsive. iFixit claims Apple has refused to recognize the problem as a major issue. The problem may be caused by bending either phone, which causes connections between the touchscreen controller chips and logic board to break down.
Apple has sent out media invitations to its upcoming event, slated for Sept. 7. The invite features a series of colored dots and a simple caption: “See you on the 7th.” The event is being held at 10 a.m. Pacific time, in San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. It’s expected that we’ll see the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus debut at the event, along with launch dates for iOS 10, tvOS 10, and watchOS 3. It’s also conceivable that we’ll see new Apple Watch models and new MacBook Pro models. We’ll have live coverage on Twitter during the event, with all the vital information to follow here on iLounge.com.
Phillips is adding a motion sensor to provide more automated control options for its line of Hue bulbs (see our recent review for the White Ambience Starter Kit) and lightstrips. The battery-powered Hue Motion Sensor connects to a Hue Bridge and is wireless, so it can be placed anywhere. When activated, the sensor will turn lights on when a user enters a room, shut them off when they leave, and perform other set actions like turning lights on or off depending on the level of daylight and activating different lighting configurations at different times of day. One bridge can handle up to 12 motion sensors, each of which has a range of about 16 feet. The Hue Motion Sensor will cost $40 and be available on the Philips Hue website alongside the new Ambiance A19 bulbs starting in October.
New photos discovered on Chinese website Weibo and posted by The Malignant show an alleged upgraded battery for an upcoming Apple Watch. The new battery has a 334 mAh capacity, improving on the current Apple Watch’s 246 mAh. KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has predicted that Apple will release an upgraded version of the original with improved internal components and better waterproofing alongside an “Apple Watch 2” that will share a similar outward design, but will boast a higher capacity battery, GPS radio, and a barometer for improved geolocation capabilities.
Spotify has been penalizing artists who release exclusive content on Apple Music, Bloomberg reports. According to inside sources, musicians who release new material exclusively on Apple Music have been told that their tracks will not be included on featured playlists, and are finding their songs buried in Spotify search results. The practice of doing this has apparently been ongoing for about a year, but some sources suggest that Spotify’s efforts have escalated over the past few months. Further, the practice doesn’t seem to be restricted to Apple Music; artists who have done exclusive releases on Tidal have also been retaliated against, according to sources.
Update: In regard to Spotify burying search results, a Spotify spokesperson has reached out to us with the statement that “This is unequivocally false.”
Apple has released the seventh public beta of iOS 10 through its Apple Software Beta Program, continuing enhancements to Music, Maps, Messages, and News. Users who have already signed up for the Apple Software Beta Program should be able to log in and download the new versions now; users who haven’t signed up can do so at the same site. The company also released the corresponding developer beta for iOS 10 along with a seventh developer beta of tvOS 10. As usual, the latest round of betas is intended to allow developers to continue working on the new features and APIs first debuted at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference last month, and the beta cycle continues to ramp up as the new operating systems move closer to final release, with the latest iOS 10 developer beta representing the third new beta released in the past two weeks.
Lending credence to previous rumors and speculation, sources have told Bloomberg that Apple is working on a “major redesign” of the iPhone for 2017 that will remove the Home button and focus “more heavily on the display.” Back in May, Daring Fireball’s John Gruber revealed “scuttlebutt” that the 2017 iPhone would feature an “all-new form factor” getting rid of the top and bottom edges and incorporating the Touch ID sensor behind the glass. Separate reports also suggested Apple is working on an all-glass casing for the 2017 model.
Apple is planning to release new technology in the next generation iPhone that will support mobile payments and tap-to-pay for transit in Japan, Bloomberg reports. While most countries use payment terminals compatible with the NFC standard already used by Apple Pay in current iPhone models, Japanese systems use a Sony-designed technology known as FeliCa. Sources reveal that Apple plans to include this hardware technology in the next-generation iPhone, although the functionality could be held back until later depending on how Apple’s negotiations with Japan-based payment networks go. The feature would allow customers in Japan to store their public bus and train passes on their iPhones, which could then be tapped against entrance scanners in place of a physical card. Although the FeliCa chip is used across the board, there are still multiple providers of transit payment cards for different types of transit and regions within the county, and Apple intends to work with multiple providers to ensure maximum coverage for the feature. The FeliCa chip is also used by Japanese point-of-sale systems, so the move would allow Apple to effectively roll out Apple Pay in Japan as well.
Apple has released iOS 9.3.5, its third minor update in the past six weeks, coming only a little more than three weeks on the heels of the release of iOS 9.3.4. As with the prior release, the latest update appears to be another minor patch, with release notes merely describing it once again as “an important security update” that is recommended for all iOS 9 users. With iOS 10 expected to debut in the near future, iOS 9 updates will likely be limited to security patches such as these to accommodate older devices incapable of being updated to iOS 10.
Apple has been working on a new video sharing and editing application with a focus on social networking, according to a new report from Bloomberg. Sources familiar with Apple’s strategy suggest that the move is aimed at taking on apps such as Facebook Messenger and Snapchat. The move would likely expand on new features in iOS 10’s new Messages app, which will bring new animated effects, stickers, and tools expandable via third-party App Store plug-ins — features clearly designed to bring the Messages app more into line with apps like Snapchat to appeal to a younger set of users.
Apple has announced the complete lineup of artists that will be performing at this year’s Apple Music Festival, scheduled to run from Sept. 18-30. The event will be headlined by popular artists including Alicia Keys, Bastille, Britney Spears, Calvin Harris, Chance The Rapper, Elton John, Michael Bublé, OneRepublic, Robbie Williams and The 1975, with the full lineup announced today on Beats 1 by London’s Julie Adenuga. Apple Music subscribers will also be able to access exclusive Festival content such as playlists, artist news, and backstage interviews throughout the month of September, and subscribers will be able to watch the ten nights of performances both live and on-demand via any device supporting Apple Music.
Universal Music Group CEO Lucian Grainge has sent out an email to UMG executives according to The Leftsetz Letter, announcing that the company will be prohibiting the practice of exclusive music streaming deals. The move comes on the heels of exclusive releases by artists such as Frank Ocean, and scathing remarks by music industry analyst and critic Bob Lefsetz, who published an open letter this past weekend, stating that Apple should be “investigated by the government for antitrust” and that artists who take money from Apple for exclusives are complicit in “screwing fans.”
Because there’s a conspiracy between Apple Music and the industry to change the game, to get everybody to pay for a subscription by putting hit content behind a paywall.
In his letter, Lefsetz explains how the music industry eventually embraced streaming and how the services had been “fan-friendly” until the recent move toward penning exclusive release deals with artists. Leftsetz goes on to criticize the amount of press buzz created by these exclusive deals, which push out other acts that might be more worthy of recognition, and how the industry still needs a “free tier” where “casual fans can experience new music” rather than “overpaying” for the experience. [via Macrumors]
While Siri is the usual public focus of Apple’s artificial intelligence endeavors, a new Backchannel story points out that much of the behavior iPhone users notice in their device is also powered by the company’s increasing push to improve its AI. When the iPhone guesses which apps you’ll want to use next when you swipe your screen, that’s Apple’s AI at work, but the device also lashes together pieces of information from several places to provide a more complete picture. Machine learning helps Apple devices do everything from extending battery life between charges to identifying a caller who isn’t in its contact list by referencing emails. It’s also responsible for the iPad Pro knowing the difference between the Apple Pencil’s touch and the palm being dragged alongside it while a user is drawing, accepting the Pencil’s input while rejecting the palm’s. “If this doesn’t work rock solid, this is not a good piece of paper for me to write on anymore — and Pencil is not a good product,” said senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi. “If you love your Pencil, thank machine learning.”
Apple Music’s entry into the streaming music business has major labels asking Spotify for a larger share of its revenue, Music Business Worldwide reports. Spotify’s contracts with Universal, Warner and Sony have all expired, and while the labels want Spotify to up their revenue share from 55 percent to something closer to the 58 percent Apple currently pays, Spotify is trying to push what it pays even further down. Spotify is getting by on rolling month-to-month licensing agreements for the time being, but its decision to begin offering a carbon copy of Apple Music’s family plan with no long-term licensing agreements in place has rubbed labels the wrong way.
A new report from iFixit highlights a design defect in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus that the company believes is affecting thousands of units. Referring to the problem as “Touch Disease,” iFixit describes a scenario where flickering gray lines appear at the top of the iPhone screen and touch functionality becomes glitchy or unresponsive. Apple Stores have generally refused to recognize the problem as an issue — particularly as many of the affected iPhones are now out of warranty — leaving many customers stuck with no choice but to purchase a new iPhone or pay for costly repairs. Notably, however, iFixit’s investigation claims that the problem is not even a function of the iPhone display, but is actually caused by two touchscreen controller chips located on the logic board.